Monday, April 28, 2008

Freezing Wind and Outdoor Expo

Woke up Saturday to... snow. SNOW! It's the end of April. Snow!!?? Actually I didn't mind. Except that it meant we couldn't ride. Or... wouldn't. I'm sure there was no accumulation on the roads. But I wasn't taking the chance. And, to show our total lack of commitment, we just took the bike rack off my SUV so we didn't want to put it on to take a ride in Cannon Falls. lol But we did run. And it was the windiest run I've taken in ages! Seriously. A couple times I found myself leaning so far forward I definitely would have fallen over if not for the wind. Thank goodness God didn't decide to have a laugh.... let up on the wind... and watch me fall face first. Ha ha very funny! lol We were warm enough because we'd dressed appropriately. Though my face was slightly numb when I returned. lol There were little ice pellets hitting me the entire time. Point is. No cycling this weekend. )= And I can't take my bike with me to Vegas on Wednesday so I need to get a ride in today or tomorrow. Arrgh!

Good stuff. Sunday Lorrie and I headed out to the Midwest Mountaineering outdoor expo. We got some great deals and some good information. I bought a very large waterproof canoe pack (Duluth pack-like) to carry all our gear. Then I got a couple large dry bags for our sleeping bags. SO FUN! I know. Geek! I don't care. When we got home, I put up the tent downstairs. Yeah. In front of the fireplace. lol BUT, we did not turn the fireplace on. Gas. *That* would have been too much! heheh I just need the sleep pads on my wishlist and a couple more dry bags. Oh... and eventually our own lightweight canoe paddles. Those would definitely come in handy! We'll keep renting Kevlar canoes. I don't want the responsibility!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Hills and Wind

Commute:

Distance = 3.74 miles
Time = 12 minutes

The Actual Ride:

Distance = 14.62
Time = 1.15.35
Avg speed = 11.6 mph
Max speed = 24.5 mph

So I'm at least approaching the 12 mph average speed! That's a good thing! Especially since this was my first hilly ride this season. We decided to head out toward Dennison on Woodley. The wind was blowing South to North so we had a pretty good side wind most of the way out. We saw a group of guys racing up one of the hills working hard against the wind. I admit I wondered what it would feel like to be that strong and fast. I've probably been that strong in the past so I can guess that one. But fast, not compared to those kind of riders. A goal in the making eh? Lorrie stopped at about the 4 mile point and I went on. So I got to turn onto Hwy 42 into a major headwind. I love working hard to go downhill. That's *so* fun! But, it's always in the back of my mind that coming back up will be that much easier. So I went out to just over 7 miles. At that point my brain starting pumping. It's getting late, I can see the sun dropping a little, what if the wind does as it sometimes does and hits me head on both ways, I'm hungry, is that the beginning twinge of a cramp in my underused leg, etc. So I turned around. Honestly, the major factor was wind. I honestly have had too many experiences where it's a headwind every direction. Seems to be mainly a Midwest thing as it happened more in Michigan and here than it did in California. Maybe it's the corn! Anyway, point is, I turned around. Problem was, I wanted to go even slightly further than I had before. That didn't happen. But my original thoughts about the wind were correct. I had an awesome tailwind coming up the first bigger climbs. That was nice. Then the side wind hit and going downhill wasn't quite so fast. I was climbing the 2nd to last hill and, really, the sun was in my eyes. There was Lorrie. But I didn't see her right away. She was right next to the road. lol That's how low and bright the sun was. When I got right up to her I realized it was her and stopped for a moment. She had just been chilling out enjoying the breeze and being outside. This is the epitome of Lorrie if there ever is one! So she jumped on my tail and we made our way home. It's always good to get the first hills and the first wind out of the way.

Interestingly, I was not winded the entire time. I know I'm not in great shape cardiovascularly. So what that tells me is my legs are even worse!! lol Won't take long to catch them up to my underdeveloped cardiovascular shape... got the legs from both my parents. But once they catch up, I've got some major work to do before July!! Nine days of riding seems impossible at this moment! Well, not really. I wouldn't have signed up if I thought that. But I do have my work cut out.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Half Commute & Lorries' First Solo

My Half Commute:

Did a half commute today. Lorrie drove me and Hi Ho to work and then I rode her (Hi Ho not Lorrie) home. Though it's not an outdoor thing, after I got home, we went to a Bible Study on LGBT issues. Very interesting!

Distance = 2 miles
Time = 10 minutes

I didn't mark down the other measures. But it was short and sweet!

Lorrie's Ride:

Distance - 12 miles

That's all I know. lol But it was her first time out on the road alone since we started riding together. She is totally getting into this biking thing! I have to admit that I was a little worried about her being out there with traffic and such. She rarely gets to look at anything but my ass! lol Hopefully she enjoyed the view a little more today! (= She rode out toward Dennison on Woodley and Hwy. 42 and turned around "at the white daycare center." I was very impressed!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Work Commute

Distance = 3.74 (Lorrie's distance = 7.48 miles)
Time = 0.23.36
Average speed = 9.4 mph
Max speed = 16.9 mph

Decided to bike commute today. Note that the distance is round trip! lol Gotta love a small town eh? Weather was perfect and I got there earlier than usual. That's a good thing! I just wore my work clothes, which was jeans today. I rolled up my pants and wore my cycling shoes. My regular shoes were in my messenger bag. I also wore a water resistant windbreaker, just in case of rain. No issues with traffic at all. Northfield is pretty biker friendly and people are used to seeing us tool around. I'm generally a traffic rule follower... except rolling through stop signs when no one is around. So I don't cause much trouble. Lorrie rode with me to work then rode back home. She came back later in the day to pick me up and ride home with me. The sky was very dark gray and threatening to rain at any moment. We took a detour to check out an Argosy RV that is for sale. It's like a silver bullet. Nothing on the walls so it's like a blank slate. A little exciting to think about having that. We are definitely a retro/vintage couple! Anyway, back roads home. A couple sprinkles on my jacket as we pulled in. But no rain until later in the evening. Darn! I thought it would be fun to pull in and then have a downpour! (=

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Red Ribbon Kick-off Training Ride

Distance = 14.41
Time = 1.22.58
Avg. Speed = 10.4
Max Speed = 15.2

Red Ribbon Ride Kick-off Training Ride. About 15 people showed for the this first ride of the training season. That was a pretty good number of people I thought. There were a few that are on the All God's Children MCC team, which was cool. I had checked out the names on the team but don't really know anyone at church so it was good to put names to faces. There were two other women, Kelli and Jean, that I recognized from church. Funny thing was that both names are relatively gender neutral. So according to the team list, it was possible that I was the only woman. Glad there are others! I feel better about being part of a team now that I've actually met some of the others. I had a vision of camping alone and spending the entire 300 miles on my own. Which, while riding, I might. For an introvert like me, a few connections here and there can do wonders!

Anyway, on with the training ride. We started out in the parking lot of All God's Children. They did a safety speech before heading out. Taught us the hand signals. Told us to hydrate and not to pass each other. lol Being the opening ride, the point was just to spend some time in the saddle and enjoy each others' company. That works. We rode out to Park Ave. where we went North and did a little jag down to the entrance of the trail about 2 blocks away. Not bad! Then we headed west on the Greenway Trail, which seems like it spans most of Minneapolis. Great for commuters! Made me miss living in the city a little. Not Minneapolis though! heheh We rode in line for about 7.5 miles until we got to The Depot Coffeehouse in Hopkins, MN. Cute little place next to what used to be railroad tracks. Stopped there for a few minutes so people could get coffee and use the bathroom. I still don't understand drinking coffee in the middle of a ride. People do it all the time. But it's a diuretic (makes you have to use the bathroom a lot) and seems like it would cause dehydration. Neither of those things seem good to me on a bike ride. But lots and lots of people do so it must be something good... or addicting! lol After the break we were standing outside waiting for the last few people to come out. Lorrie and I both started getting cold just standing there. It wasn't really cold out. But we were sweaty and it definitely wasn't warm. Low 50s maybe and cloudy. So we went back to the foyer until the others started coming out. Wusses! (= Back on the bikes for the trip home. I don't know where but at some point people started telling us about glass on the trail ahead. Apparently someone had dropped some bottles from a street bridge above the trail that landed right in the middle of the trail and covered most of the width. Rude people! We passed one man who was changing a flat. Presumably from the glass. Poor guy. A couple of the people in front asked if he was okay or needed help. I thought that was nice. I always offer but have some trouble changing road tires so my help would often be useless. But in a pinch (heheh) I can get the job done. We also passed under another bridge where an elderly man was shaking his cane at us and yelling. Nice! Finally, there was a man running on the "wrong" side of the trail. Lesson... on trails you walk, ride, and run on the right side. On roads you bike with traffic on the right side but ride and run on the left facing traffic. He was doing the opposite. Not a big deal unless there's a lot of traffic. Apparently one of the guys in the front of our group pointed out the error of his ways because what I heard from the runner was, "BITE ME!" lol Ahh recreationalists! Gotta love us! I think those were the negative interactions. Everyone else was cool and we had a great time.

What I noticed. I got a little impatient with the slow pace. I busied myself making jokes to myself. I kept my place. Didn't pass. In other words, I behaved. I'm sure my friends on the AIDS/Life Cycle ride would be impressed. Okay, but here was another interesting observation. Remember that safety speech I mentioned at the beginning? Well, for most of the ride we heard nothing from the ride leader about runners, walkers, or bikers up. He also rode 2 abreast most of the way back... even at one point when he was passing a walker on one side and another cyclist was coming toward us and passing. I thought that was interesting. Why? Because I am inherently a rule disobeyer. And when I see the ride leader... who just read all these rules to us AND didn't want someone to ride with us because she was late and *that is the rule*... break most of those rules... I AM IN! lol

Welcome to the 2008 Training Season!

P.S. I forgot Jeero! Please don't tell Jeero that I was out riding. Jeero would be VERY hurt! Jeero was home with O.X. having an UglyParty. We'd have grounded them but we felt guilty.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

First Ride 2008

Distance = 10.21
Time = 54.43
Average speed = 11.1 mph

Sunday afternoon and we decided to get our butts on our bikes and start the training season. We decided to do the end road from our usual 20 mile route out past Dundas. I think we took longer to get ready than we did on the actual ride! lol But it was cold and we had to figure out how much clothing to wear so that we'd be warm but not overheat. It's a science really! I think we did pretty well. Lorrie had her regular riding gloves on so her fingers were cold. But I think that was the only problem we had. We rode our behind Target and Cub on Jefferson Rd. and then down over Hwy 3 toward Dundas. We wound our way through Dundas and out to Hwy 1. A little different than Hwy 1 in California! (= There ended up being quite a bit of traffic. And the shoulder was basically non-existent. We rode that route in the middle of the summer and both remembered having more space, at least on the one side. With sand and such from winter, the shoulder was gone. Add to that all the pot holes on the side of the road and it was actually quite dangerous. Not a road we'll be riding again soon. At least not without a group. We rode out 5 miles and turned around to go back the same way.

It felt good being on the bike again. I just got mine tuned up about a month ago and it felt great! I've had a little catch or pop in my bottom bracket, or so it seemed, so I got that taken care of. I also got a new rear crank and chain. It's like new! Lorrie's was just tuned up last year so hers is good too. I'm sure we'll feel this in our butts soon. But for now, it's a good start to the season!

Jennifer reviews the ride...

video

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Missed Expo

Just thought I would express my frustration with myself! I put the outdoor expo we were supposed to attend on my calendar wrong and we MISSED it! Free tickets, a personal guide, and we missed it. Damn!

Our trip to the Boundary Waters is set though. June 22-29! Can't wait!

I still need a Duluth Pack and a couple dry bags. Otherwise I think we're basically set! We are going with Sue Steele, a friend of my sister's from high school. Planning meetings to come!